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Celebrating 90 years - farmers union camp legacy

Celebrating 90 years - farmers union camp legacy

By Scout Nelson

For nine decades, South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) Camp has been a source of education and empowerment for rural youth across the state. As the landscape of agriculture has evolved, so has the programming at Farmers Union Camp, adapting to meet the changing needs of South Dakota's youth in agriculture, cooperative principles, and leadership development.

Karla Hofhenke, SDFU Executive Director, underscores the camp's vital role in nurturing the next generation of agricultural leaders. Through hands-on leadership training, rural youth gain essential skills to advocate for agriculture and assume leadership roles within the industry.

Samantha Olson, SDFU Education Program Specialist, highlights the diverse educational opportunities offered at the 2024 Farmers Union camps. Campers receive insights into various agriculture careers and animal science, providing a holistic understanding of the agricultural industry.

From agronomists to food scientists, campers interact with professionals from different sectors of agriculture, broadening their perspectives and inspiring future career paths.

Practical experiences, such as touring local meat lockers and veterinary clinics, further enrich the learning experience, offering real-world insights into agricultural practices.

A cornerstone of Farmers Union Camp is the emphasis on cooperative principles and business models. Campers engage in cooperative simulations, electing officers and collectively managing various cooperative enterprises.

Through this hands-on approach, youth learn the importance of cooperation and democratic decision-making within the agricultural community.

Reflecting on the enduring impact of Farmers Union Camp, former camp attendees highlight the invaluable leadership skills gained through their camp experiences. Alumni credit Farmers Union Camp for instilling a passion for advocacy and shaping their career paths in agricultural policy.

As Farmers Union Camp celebrates its 90th anniversary, alumni are invited to join the reunion during the State Leadership Camp in the Black Hills. This event offers an opportunity for past camp attendees to reconnect and celebrate the enduring legacy of Farmers Union Camp.

Email Samantha Olson at or call 605-554-3022 to attend the alumni event.

Photo Credit -gettyimages-stockseller_ukr

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Categories: South Dakota, Education

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